Testimony presented today in the penalty trial of David Edward Drommond Jr., painted the classic picture of domestic violence at its worst: a woman abused, cut off from friends, finally getting a divorce and getting gunned down when she planned a life with someone else.

Melina Yorke took the stand today in 2nd District Court to testify about the relationship she observed between murder victim Janeil Bradley, 29, and her ex-husband, convicted of aggravated murder in her 2005 death.

Yorke, who said she was Bradley's best friend, said Drommond showed violent and controlling tendencies toward the woman even before they were married.

In August of 1995, Yorke said Janeil Bradley came to her home upset, and on warm day was wearing a partial turtleneck.

"I could see some partial bruising. There were clear bruises and fingermarks on her neck, "Yorke said.

She said Bradley told her that she had been in a music store and was talking to a man and that Drommond got angry. After they got in the car, "that's when he choked her ... I told her she needs to stop seeing him and that he was a danger to her."

She said Janeil Bradley was afraid, but still cared for Drommond.

"Part of her wanted to be safe, but part of her didn't want to leave."

The pair ended up marrying, having two children and then divorcing.

In August of 2005, Janeil Bradley, accompanied by her father, Neil Reed Bradley, went to Drommond's Bountiful home to drop off her two children for a visit.

During the encounter, Janeil Bradley was shot to death and her father wounded by Drommond after he tried to wrestle the gun away from the ex-husband.

In December of 2007, Drommond pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in exchange for prosecutors' agreement that the death penalty be taken off the table.

A jury is now deciding if he will face life in prison without parole or have a chance at someday getting released.

Yorke told jurors that after she spotted the bruising and choking marks, she was so concerned she told Janeil Bradley's mother about the abuse.

"I felt like she was in danger."

She also testified that after her best friend married, the long-time relationship between the two changed.

During one infrequent visit, her friend apologized.

"She told me she was sorry that we couldn't be close because he (Drommond) didn't like her associating with me."

The friendship was not renewed in strength until after Janeil Bradley's divorce from her husband, Yorke testified.

On one day when the two visited, Yorke said, "I never seen her more beautiful or more happy. She had a whole new lease on life. ... She was going to marry a wonderful man. She was so excited."

Additional testimony is expected this afternoon, with the trial expected to conclude Friday.

E-MAIL: lindat@desnews.com